The Top 5 European Destinations For Visiting Film Locations
Films can whisk you away to a different time or place at a moment’s notice; climb the highest mountain, dive beneath the sea or travel to a different planet, all from the comfort of a cinema or your own home. Films are often set in stunning real life locations that evoke a sense of adventure, mystery, beauty or magnitude. Want to see these places for yourself? Let us take you on a whirlwind tour of the top 5 European destinations for visiting film locations.
Spain is home to Europe’s only desert, the Tabernas Desert in Almeria, which bears a striking resemblance to deserts you’d find in North America and Arabia. This enigmatic and dramatic landscape has set the scene for lots of famous films including The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Madrid is home to the Café del Príncipe (Plaza de Canalejas 5), which was used to portray Italy in The Bourne Ultimatum.
Filming commenced for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in 2002, in the pretty Santorini town of Oia. The movie opens by skimming across the beautiful Greek sea and sweeping up to a panoramic view of the island. For Your Eyes Only, the 1981 James Bond film, features some stunning scenes set in Corfu and Meteora. Key locations include Achilleion Palace, Pontikonisi, Katami Bay, the Old Fortress and the Holy Trinity Monastery in the Meteora Mountains. Mamma Mia! was filmed across 3 Greek locations – Skiathos, Skopelos and Damouchari. Following in Meryl Streep’s footsteps up to the tiny chapel of Agios Ioannis can be tiring in the heat – they’re very steep!
The Canary Islands
With their wild and other-worldly landscapes, it is easy to see why the Canary Islands have featured in some epic movies over the years. One Million Years B.C, an iconic sixties’ film featuring Raquel Welsh and lots of retro stop-motion effects, was filmed on Lanzarote and its volcanic, prehistoric-looking landscape. The 2010 remake of the Clash of the Titans was filmed in Tenerife’s Teide National Park and in the Dunas de Maspalomas Nature Reserve on Gran Canaria. Fuerteventura’s dry, desert-like conditions and mountainous backdrop were the perfect filming conditions for Exodus: Gods and Kings, which sees Christian Bale leading the Egyptian Israelites to freedom as Moses.
Turkey The third chapter of the Indiana Jones’ legacy, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was partially filmed in Turkey; the fictional province of Hatay was filmed in Istanbul. Taken 2 featuring Liam Neeson was also shot in Istanbul. Neeson rushes around the city as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who is desperately trying to rescue his ex-wife who is kidnapped in a revenge-fuelled plot. The Eminönü area, tall Galata tower and bridge, Süleymaniye mosque and Rüstem Pasa mosque are all featured in the film. Look out for the rooftop pursuit, across Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, and thrilling car chases round the city’s narrow, souk-lined streets.
Italy The vast majority of The Talented Mr Ripley, a psychological thriller featuring Jude Law and Matt Damon, was filmed in Italy. Palermo, Ischia, Venice and Rome all feature, keeping the film closely in line with the novel it was based on. The Palazzo Real near Naples features in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace; the inside of the palace is used as Queen Amidala’s palace on Naboo. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones revisits the Palazzo Real, and also includes shots of Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como as the summer palace.